National Coal Mining Museum
Out In The City members travelled by coach arriving at the National Coal Mining Museum in time for lunch. The museum, based at the site of Caphouse Colliery in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, has a café serving homemade food at reasonable prices.
Coal mining boomed and at the beginning of the 20th century the mines had more than one million employees, most of them in Yorkshire. Now all coalmines are closed and renewable sources, nuclear power plants and especially gas generate electricity.
Caphouse Colliery began operating in the 1770s or 1780s, but closed in 1985. It was established as a museum in 1988.
There is plenty to see on the surface but the museum also offers guided underground tours. Visitors can experience the conditions miners worked in and see the tools and machines they used as the industry and the mine developed through the years.
We split into two groups to go down the 140-metre mine. For comparison Blackpool Tower is 158 metres tall. I don’t know about the first group, but our guide was an ex-miner with a strong Yorkshire accent. Before getting into the cage lift we had to wear hard hats and a torch pack and leave behind all our belongings containing a battery (phones, cameras, car keys and watches) as coal emits methane, which is highly inflammatory, as well as poisonous.
Our guide led us through narrow passages as he gave us a talk through 180 years of mining, explaining the origin of the expression ‘shut tha’ trap’ when families (including women and children) worked in the pitch black mines for twelve hour shifts and the only schooling was on Sunday.
The Mines and Collieries Act 1842 barred women and girls of any age to work underground and introduced a minimum age of ten for boys employed in underground work, leading to the widespread use of horses and ponies in mining in England. Sadly, the pit ponies often went down the pits for life. Also girls sometimes cut their hair and presented as boys to continue working.
As heavy machinery was introduced miners endured deafening noise and extreme heat – more than 45 degrees centigrade. They worked only in their underpants! However, they organised in trade unions and through strikes and other pressure they eventually improved their working conditions.
The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday and a visit is highly recommended.
More photos can be seen here.
Vote for Out Together to help Older LGBT+ in Yorkshire
The National Lottery People’s Choice Awards have shortlisted 80 charities and groups for funding in 2023.
Out Together is the only group representing the LGBT+ community and they could win up to £70,000 to help older members in Yorkshire keep well, have fun and stay connected.
The project connects people from the LGBT+ community through social activities. The funding will help build connections between older and younger LGBT+ communities to create an understanding of the experiences the older generation has faced, reduce loneliness and ensure people feel part of their community.
For more information – see http://www.outtogether.lgbt
Voting is open until 12.00 noon on Friday, 26 May and you can vote here.
Don’t Say Gay
Don’t Say Gay is a documentary film about Section 28, which is currently being financed.
Here is a creative teaser, which is a way of showing what the film might look and feel like.
The next stage of filming will be interviews including with the founders of Stonewall, Scottish protestors who challenged libraries to include the Pink Paper, and the founders of LGBTQ+ history month. There will also be a teacher who wasn’t out during Section 28 and a couple of people who went to school under the law to talk about their experiences.
The world continues to repeat the mistakes of Section 28. The law in Florida dubbed ‘Don’t Say Gay’ impacts young people who have reported books being removed from library shelves whilst teachers are being reprimanded who want to continue to be out and teach their classes about LGBT+ themes and topics.
More countries and states bring in anti-LGBT+ laws from Uganda to Tennessee and many of them use similar approaches that Section 28 used.
The film is a human rights film that wants to highlight what state sponsored silence looks like and the devastating impact it can have on the minorities it targets. It’s more important than ever before. Please share the teaser online, use tag @section28film on Instagram or Twitter or direct people to section28film.com to build anticipation of the film.
Any sharing helps with the fundraising to finance the next stage of filming and archive and music clearance.